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Carvin Heads: Spraying Ribbon to Avoid Problems

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pbasswil, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008

    Carvin amps are great value with great specs and features.
    But certain models tend to develop problems related to the ribbon cables & their connectors, inside.

    I saw a thread some time ago that had step by step instructions -- with photos -- showing how to spray these connections. But I can't find the thread, among the masses of posts about Carvin heads.

    Does anyone happen to know what the thread was -- or have a copy of the instructions??

    Thanks in advance.
    (Mine's a BX1500, btw)
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Personally, I used DeoxIT Gold in the "paint pen" applicator, which makes a lot less mess than a spray can. ;)
  3. DrumsAndBass

    DrumsAndBass Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Yeah, it's "water under the bridge" but I have not called the factory yet to ask Carvin if the 3 new bass heads still use the ribbon cable/connector. The last time I called them it was to ask if the B2000 also has that part. His answer was "yes, it does ..." I'll call them up for an updated question as soon as I can. The technical services tech sounded as though he was being put on the spot with my question last time. But I do support them as a local small business and I dig their PA amp in my rig. Please excuse my tangent.

    I'm sure some of the B series users here will refer you to the cleaning steps.
  4. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    In the 8 years of playing through 3 Carvin amps and one Carvin PA, I have NEVER experienced the ribbon cable problem.

    Still, the fix is so simple that all the complaints about it seem silly when you compare the amount of power and flexibility you get with these amps, especially considering the price.

    Right now for example, you can get a BX1500 head with TWO 750w amps (at 2 ohms each, 450w @ 4 ohms each) for 500 bucks delivered. With a volume knob on each amp, an Active crossover, a defeatable graphic EQ and a semi-parametric EQ all built-in, the ribbon cable thing seems somewhat irrelevant.

    Just saying. :eyebrow:
  5. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    Thanks for your responses, guys.

    Just so it's clear, I wasn't trying to stir up talk about Carvin head reliability, or the advisability of buying one.
    I'm just looking for the thread that I saw before, which had clear instructions and photos (for a non-techy guy like me to follow).
  6. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    That's cool!! I'm just passing information based on personal experience!
  7. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    I have a question for you e.e. types:
    I can't find DeOxit up here in Montreal. I have Electronics Contact Cleaner w/ Silicone by MG Chemicals.

    1. Does that sound safe to spray on the junctions of the cables and their sockets?
    2. Should I target the pin side, or the socket side, or both??


    I now have the case of my BX1500 open.
    There are 3 ribbon cables (= 6 connections). I'm readily able to undo 4 of them.

    2 ribbon ends are connected to the side of a circuit board that faces the back panel of the amp.
    There's only about 5/8 of an inch between the 2 connectors that needs to be pulled, and the amp's back panel. Most of that elbow room is covered by a flange that's bent over from the back panel!

    I'm not sure if I should attempt pulling these; not sure how easily they'd go back in; and it would be very hard to spray into the socket anyway.


    Thanks in advance,

    - Peter
  8. Once the amp is out of the case - & unplugged! -use your drill-driver to take out the 10? top screws (one on the front) cover off. Probably don't spill something onto the boards, or put your tongue on any solders - then one at a time, jiggle and pull up on each accessible ribbon cable connector. Maybe lay a clean rag around the connector to be sprayed, give it a tiny shot of DeOxIt - jsut a dribble on each male and female connector. Wipe off any drippage/excess, Plug it back in. I like to then plug it back together, then unplug/plug a couple times, sort of in& out just so the mating surfaces scrape and clean each other. (I'm getting randy just talking about it!) Then re-lid.

    As Jeff7 said, I've had NO problem with any of my Carvin amps, but I did this process just because I was bored one Arctic Vortex day. I'd say, if it ain't broke, but I did anyway.

    In fact, it wasn't broke, but then putting the top screws back in, the front panel screw hole stripped out, so I had to do some peening to tighten the threads. (Boy I'm even more randy now!)
  9. Don't even mess with those you can't easily undo. You're asking for trouble when you had none to begin with.
    I won't even get into cleaning the potentiometers as long as you're in there!
  10. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    Just learned two new words, Randy and peening!!

  11. Troph


    Apr 14, 2011
    Kirkland, WA
    Is there any shock hazard here, or does Carvin have a cap discharge circuit in these things? I don't like touching leads when I really don't know where they go. :)
  12. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    Thanks guys! Appreciate the tips, Bigskybassguy.

    Any thoughts on this
    Electronics Contact Cleaner w/ Silicone by MG Chemicals

    that I have, in lieu of DeOxit?

    By the way, the amp has worked fine for me thru a couple of years of sporadic use,
    but lately I've been hearing some unusual noises.
    Just in case it's related to the connectors, I've decided to squirt 'em.

    - Peter
  13. Solid state amps don't deal in the same high voltages found in tube circuits, and apparently the capacitors in a ss circuit drain off the juice in a few minutes. But maybe not. Make sure it's all unplugged.
    I'm no expert, so I'd just say never never never touch anything inside an amp head ever. You were warned so don't sue me.
  14. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    Thanks for the link, 5port! I somehow remembered more specific instructions, but must have been a created memory.

    Anyway, I sprayed the junctions, and took a chance that the contact spray with silicone (not DeOxit) wouldn't damage anything.
    So far everything's working; the real test will be tomorrow's gig.

    Thanks to all who chimed in!

    - Peter
  15. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    Just an update to say I gigged my BX1500 after spraying 4 of the 6 ribbon cable junctions, and didn't notice any noises.
    So (fingers crossed), it seems to have done the trick -- even with a non-DeOxit contact cleaner/lubricant.

    Man, running this head bridged into a 4ohm (Greenboy) Dually -- I've _never_ experienced such an abundance of sonic power! It might as well be infinite, cuz I'll never push it to its limits.

    But never again will a guitarist bury me. :^)
    My only regret is that it's very seldom that I can really crank it up.

    Thanks again to all posters.
  16. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    Which Greenboy? A 1212/6?
  17. pbasswil


    Feb 17, 2008
    A Dually is 2 full range 15"s, (no mid driver or tweeter),
    - Eminence Kappalite 3015's or the
    - Faital Pro 15PR400's

    Mine are the 3015's.

    With no higher range driver they're definitely not sparkley, but for classic rock or blues (or classic anything), these things _rule_. Pounding power with good mid-range, and a tight but full-sounding bottom (at least in the Dually enclosure).

    The Dually is one of the designs Greenboy came up with after fEARful's.
    Unlike fEARful's you can't build them yourself, they're available from his set of authorized builders.